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Build Guide

Enthusiast Intel Gaming Build

by ThoughtA



CPU and Cooler

At this budget, we're running an i5-7600K. This quad-core CPU features an unlocked multiplier for easy and often significant overclocking. While not all games will benefit from overclocking, games like Overwatch can benefit significantly from a faster CPU. Overclocking can also help your CPU stave off obsolescence for a good while longer. All of that being said, if you're not comfortable overclocking, you can save money by stepping down to an i5-7600, removing the non-stock cooler, and going with a cheaper B250 or H270 motherboard. The i5-7600 does come with a cooler, so if you step down and remove the Dark Rock 3 cooler, you'll still have adequate cooling.

As mentioned, we're using the be quiet! Dark Rock 3 cooler. This is a sleek, black cooler that looks and performs great.


We're using a parametric selection of motherboards that keep with a black and whitre theme. The parametric selection will actively choose the best-priced motherboard of the group. All motherboards in the group use the Z270 chipset, which allows the i5-7600K to be overclocked. Additionally, they all have 4 DDR4 DIMM slots and are capable of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a sale or upgrade of using the CPU's integrated GPU.


For memory, we're filtering for the best-priced 2x8GB kit of DDR4 RAM that would match a black and white build. Feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to see the various options and pick a color that suits you.


We're also using a parametric filter that will actively select the best-priced SSD of roughly 1TB capacity. Additionally, we're including a 3TB mechanical hard drive in a parametric filter. Everyone's storage needs differs, so feel free to change the capacity or add a mechanical drive to your heart's desire.


Our GPU is the very popular GeForce GTX 1080. This is currently one of the fastest single GPU video cards in the market - you may want to look into a 120-144Hz and/or 2560x1440 resolution monitor for this bad boy. The parametric filter is set for the best-priced 1080 available, but feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to browse our listing of 1080s. For those interested in VR, the GTX 1080 will have no problem playing any and and all applications currently on the market.

We're currently holding off on including the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti until it has better availability and perhaps more cooling solutions.


All of our parts are housed in the windowed version of the Fractal Design Define C. This case is kind of like the Define S or Define R5, but it has a shorter length to reduce wasted space. It features 2 USB 3.0 front panel ports and can fit pretty much any length video card. The Define C also has a lot off cable management options, including a PSU shroud, which will serve to hide any unsightly cables. This will round off our sleek, understated build.


Powering the build is a sparse selection of some of the most well-reviewed PSUs available - all without breaking the bank. All of them are certified 80+ Gold and either semi-modular or fully-modular.

For an AMD version of our Enthusiast Gaming guide you can find it here.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 392W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $228.89 $228.89 OutletPC Buy
CPU Cooler $65.89 $65.89 OutletPC Buy
Motherboard $108.99 -$10.00 $1.99 $100.98 Newegg Buy
$10.00 mail-in rebate
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 16GB (2x8GB)
  • Heat Spreader: Yes
  • Color: Black, Black/Gray, Black/Silver, Black/White, White, White/Gray, White/Silver
$99.99 -$5.00 FREE $94.99 Newegg Buy
+ USD $5 off w/ promo code EMCRECH39, ends 5/3
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 960GB - 10TB
  • Type: SSD
$259.99 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $259.99 Amazon Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 3TB - 10TB
  • Type: 7200RPM
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 3.5"
$69.95 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $69.95 Amazon Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: GeForce GTX 1080
$494.99 -$20.00 FREE $474.99 Newegg Buy
$20.00 mail-in rebate
Case $82.99 $82.99 SuperBiiz Buy
Power Supply $69.90 -$10.00 $6.99 $66.89 Newegg Buy
$10.00 mail-in rebate
Base Total: $1481.58
Promo Discounts: -$5.00
Mail-in Rebates: -$40.00
Shipping: $8.98
Total: $1445.56
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Comments Sorted by:

Namnguyen 1 point 28 days ago

So glad that you updated this guide by adding Intel in the title and a gtx 1080.

yanmofeixi 1 point 27 days ago

Hi first time pc builder here,

Can you take a look at this build?


I already have the CPU & Video card. Most of the other parts are from this guide.

diegomxiv 2 points 25 days ago

You may want to look into better cooler to further overclock that CPU

Some good options to look at are the Nocturn NH-D15 or the Reeven Justice for a smaller footprint and cooler temps.

SubNauticaWaterWorld47 1 Build 1 point 10 days ago

Look at the Thermalright macho direct, it keeps my cpu around 70c at 4.8 cuz.

Mokey_Blackblood 2 points 14 days ago

Processor: An i7-7700k is really overkill for gaming (especially with that motherboard and cooling). Unless you need multiple cores for video editing/photoshop, then I would recommend an i5-7600k instead. i5- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/dQM323/intel-core-i5-7600k-38ghz-quad-core-processor-bx80677i57600k

CPU Cooler: The Dark Rock 3 is quite quiet and good at cooling, but it's a big one. I would recommend looking into some 120mm Water Cooled alternatives like the Corsair H60. They'll take up a lot less room. H60- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Vwdqqs/corsair-cpu-cooler-h60cw9060007ww

SSD: If this is just a gaming build an M.2 won't really beat out a Sata SSD, but, if you're going to be using this build in work related to Photoshop/Video Editing, then an M.2 is definitely worth it. Just make sure to get the right M.2 SSD. Otherwise, the 850 EVO is a pretty solid Sata SSD. Though you can go cheaper with this Sandisk model, with a small impact to speed. Speed Tests- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdF_aerWcW8 Info on M.2- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opwON-7J_wI Sandisk- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/x28H99/sandisk-ssd-plus-480gb-25-solid-state-drive-sdssda-480g-g26

Motherboard: That board is a bit ugly to show off in a window, no? So I'd go with a Gigabyte Gaming K3 or a K5 for a bit more flair. I'd also check out the MSI Z270 SLI Plus board as its about the same price as the K3, but has SLi support, and better heatsinks. Though I know you want to match with your GPU. k3- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/4rPzK8/gigabyte-ga-z270-gaming-k3-atx-lga1151-motherboard-ga-z270-gaming-k3 k5- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Z6PzK8/gigabyte-ga-z270x-gaming-k5-atx-lga1151-motherboard-ga-z270x-gaming-k5 SLI PLUS- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/G9X2FT/msi-z270-sli-plus-atx-lga1151-motherboard-z270-sli-plus

RAM: 10-15 bucks more and you can get 3000mhz (use that z270) AND pretty lights with Corsair Vengence LED. Corsair LED- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/7PFXsY/corsair-vengeance-led-16gb-2-x-8gb-ddr4-3000-memory-cmu16gx4m2c3000c15

Case: Good choice! Though the Phanteks P400 tempered glass case has a bigger window, similar to almost identical features, free RGB strips (meaning the lighting doesn't have to be green!), and a Silent version as well. P400 Tempered Glass- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Jjhj4D/phanteks-eclipse-p400-tempered-glass-atx-mid-tower-case-ph-ec416ptg_bk P400 Tempered Glass Silent Edition- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/tBWrxr/phanteks-eclipse-p400s-tempered-glass-atx-mid-tower-case-ph-ec416pstg_bk

PSU: Spend a bit more and get the EVGA SuperNOVA G3 650W. It's fully modular (meaning all cords connected to it can be detached, so it'll make cable management a breeze), it's the most reliable power supply on the market, it's small, you have an extra 100W, it performs as advertised, and it comes with a 10 year manufacturer warranty. BUY IT! G3- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/y88H99/evga-supernova-g3-650w-80-gold-certified-fully-modular-atx-power-supply-220-g3-0650

GPU: Just make sure you get good parts so you don't bottleneck the 1080s power. Mkay.

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 13 days ago

CPU Cooler: The Dark Rock 3 is quite quiet and good at cooling, but it's a big one. I would recommend looking into some 120mm Water Cooled alternatives like the Corsair H60. They'll take up a lot less room. H60- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Vwdqqs/corsair-cpu-cooler-h60cw9060007ww

That is of HORRIBLE value.

SSD: If this is just a gaming build an M.2 won't really beat out a Sata SSD

M.2 is a connection and SATA protcol for transferring data...

Mokey_Blackblood 1 point 13 days ago

CPU Cooler: It matches his price range and it comes from a trustworthy brand. Though I would recommend looking at the CM 212 EVO if he doesn't care about footprint and wants to save some money, or the NZXT X62/X52 Krakens if he's willing to more than double his CPU Cooler price.

SSD: Duuuurr. I was thinking of PCIe/NVMe's. Brain fart. That's what I get for being up at 5AM.

cheeseandram 1 Build 1 point 6 days ago

CPU Cooler: It matches his price range and it comes from a trustworthy brand. Though I would recommend looking at the CM 212 EVO if he doesn't care about footprint and wants to save some money, or the NZXT X62/X52 Krakens if he's willing to more than double his CPU Cooler price.

The 212 Evo is also horrible value.

I'd recommend the Scythe FUMA if you want air cooling

Apprentice57 1 point 23 days ago

Have you considered the Crucial MX300 525gb for your ssd? It's the M.2 form factor, which will save you some space and a sata cable and it's a little cheaper on my screen too.

(Some M.2 form factor ssd's have a faster interface, this one doesn't, should be fairly comparable to your selected ssd)

Joshdashef 1 point 16 days ago

Your mother board supports m.2 slots which offer faster ssd type hardrives, maybe look into something like that too change from the 2.5' one you have now?

Ericruiz911 1 point 15 days ago

Go with a AIO watercooler. Also, not crazy about Gigabyte motherboards. Saw mixed reviews and buggy bios issue. Ended up getting the MSI Pro Gaming Carbon. Scrap that SSD and opt for a PCIe card such as WD Blacks M.2 SSD or Samsung 960 EVO & PRO M.2. They are much faster and no need to run additional cables. I am doing a similar build but its more of a workstation than gaming PC but you can check it out. I scavenge for deals so as of now, still missing. You can check it out here:


Mokey_Blackblood 1 point 14 days ago

Also don't forget the Operating Sytem and a monitor when calculating in total price.

danyjr 1 point 24 days ago

Why not i7?

Remendador 1 point 23 days ago

Exactly! After all it's supposed to be an enthusiast build. IMO, i5-7600K may be called high end, but never an enthusiast CPU.

[comment deleted by staff]
ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 20 days ago

Keep it polite or don't comment on this site.

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 13 days ago

Probably because most people are playing or will play on 60Hz screens which makes a i7 totally pointless to get since both would give you the same seeable FPS.

He_162 1 point 4 days ago

Then why call it "enthusiast"?

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 4 days ago

Enthusiat != Wasting money

He_162 1 point 4 days ago

Some people enjoy having such powerful hardware, and there is no such thing as wasting money, if you have it, and don't spend it, it is not given back into the economy.

Besides, what does it matter to you if you want your processor to last more than 2 - 4 years before it becomes unusable in modern games? The only thing you see people buying used are overclockable 4th gen i5's, and up, and any or all i7's ever made, if they are cheap enough.

SamiC4702 0 points 21 days ago

It's not i7 cause it's for gaming. i7 is workstation not gaming.

Ethan30878 1 point 19 days ago

While yes, the i7 is meant for workstations, it is considerably better than the i5 at gaming, and one might expect it at a budget of around $1400-1500.

deathbat6916 1 point 16 days ago

^ you clearly have never played most modern stealth games, i7s do help. Just look at Watch Dogs 2.

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 13 days ago


He_162 1 point 4 days ago

Good luck running Arma without a frame drop on this i5, get a Ryzen or an I7.

Nassim26 1 point 24 days ago

I love your build but... why take a 1080 with an i5? Won't they bottleneck each other? If you're paying this much, why not go with a better CPU and take an i7?

SamiC4702 2 points 21 days ago

No i5 doesn't bottleneck a 1080 lol. go search i5 benchmarks.

Nassim26 1 point 18 days ago

Oops, I know. Little mistake there, but it would still be smarter and better to use an i7 with the 1080 than an i5.

He_162 1 point 4 days ago

Run this i5 in Arma 3, go ahead, try! :D

Mokey_Blackblood 1 point 14 days ago

For crazy enthusiasts? Yes. Realistically? You'll get like an extra 5-10 fps on most titles with an i7. GHZ matter way more that cores.

Nassim26 2 points 14 days ago

True. But sometimes those 5-10 fps can really help. I can't stand anything below 60fps so if it, for example, would run at 50-55fps on an i5, but 60fps on an i7; I'd much rather take the i7 even if it's such a small difference. But I guess it's just a matter of preference. But yeah, if you want something cheaper I can totally understand why you'd take an i5 instead of an i7. Guess I'm a crazy enthusiast then :/ But I agree that clock speed is way more important than the amount of cores. That's why I always go with Intel CPU's instead of AMD's. Unless a program can support multi threading, there's really no point to have more cores. And single-core performance is way more important anyway.

deathbat6916 1 point 11 days ago

If you run a lot of stealth games that actually can go up to 20-30+ FPS. Watch Dogs 2 is a prime example.

He_162 1 point 4 days ago

It's not just 5 to 10 more frames, they are smoother too. All of the frames are much much smoother, and smoother still on Ryzen, albeit Ryzen is at lower max and average frames its still better than an i5.

The .1% lows of an i5 and i7 show how sad the i5 lineup has become.

electricdrop 1 point 23 days ago

I think you have a doubled sentence in your Motherboard section:

in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a sale or upgrade of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a GPU sale or upgrade.

jakeschoeppler 1 point 18 days ago

Do not buy this cooler. Most ridiculous install ever. Had to move and loosen screws to make it fit on a Gigabyte 1151 socket motherboard.

MattinSF79 1 point 17 days ago

Love this build, thanks again for putting this together guys! I built my last PC from this site about 5 years ago and it's been the best computer I've ever had, still running strong for the most part (added some ram, SLI slot on the mobo died, etc)

I want to build another SotA gaming/"work" (excuse for my wife) computer but I'm wondering if this is the best build? I've seen people complaining about the Dark Rock cooler installation, is there a better option? I've also seen a few mentions saying I'd be better off with an i7 over the i5. I'm happy to put some more budget into the rig if it will pay dividends with noticeable performance, do you think there are some upgrades available here? Any help you can provide is most appreciated!

Thanks again!

cmcguire26479 1 point 15 days ago

I wouldn't recommend any GA-Z series boards from Gigabyte, I have a GA-Z170-HD3, board lasted 6 months before it died on me, no overclocking or thermal problems. I RMAed my board, got it back, board died again about a year later, just got it back again and Gigabyte says they will no longer cover me. A co-worker of mine bought the GA-Z270P-D3 when it came out back in mid-February, the board was DOA when he got home, he RMAed his board and still has not gotten it back from Gigabyte. I would recommend their Auros boards, but NOT their GA-Z series boards.

filmguy9 1 point 11 days ago

Cpu will bottelneck Gpu.

k3rast4se -4 points 21 days ago

This is one of the worst build i've ever seen.

Please see this revised build:


-I've replace the 140$ cooler for the extremely popular 212 evo 35$. Why spend an extra 100$ into a cooler when you can put money into cpu. -With the money i've save, upgraded 7600k to 7700k. -Replace original 1080 (noisy) for EVGA GTX 1080 SC (customer cooler) -Replaced patriot SATA SSD (terrible reliability) since price wise it doesn't make sense in this build for Samsung 850 EVO 500GB m2 SSD.

SamiC4702 4 points 21 days ago

That's not a patriot SSD, it's a trion. It's also 960gb not 500gb. And the cooler isn't $100 XD The Dark Rock is better than the Hyper 212 Evo for overclocking purposes.

WirelessCables 1 Build 1 point 13 days ago

LOL I missed that it's in CAD...


[comment deleted]
deathbat6916 1 point 16 days ago

Remember that's in CAD.

WirelessCables 1 Build 1 point 13 days ago

Ok, that's true. I missed that. I apologize.

Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel Core i5-7600K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor 11W - 91W
be quiet! Dark Rock 3 67.8 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler 5W - 10W
Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard 17W - 70W
Team Vulcan 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory 11W - 11W
Mushkin Reactor 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive 4W - 20W
Asus GeForce GTX 1080 8GB TURBO Video Card 45W - 180W
Total: 95W - 392W